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Images of text etched into nickel. Photo: Arch Foundation

After shooting a copy of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy into space with Elon Musk’s roadster, a Texas-based foundation plans to fire a library to the Moon.

Big picture: The Arch Mission Foundation wants to create off-site "data backups for Earth" to preserve our culture so future humans, should they find it, can learn about our mistakes, says co-founder Nova Spivack. The non-profit plans to send microscopic images of Wikipedia and the Rosetta Project — a digital library of human languages — to the Moon in order to establish a "lunar library" there.

How they plan to do it: Information will be etched onto thin, durable nickel films — akin to microfiche in libraries— using a technology developed by Stamper Technology.

"We putting big data in space."
— Nova Spivack

Details:

  • Spivack says they can put 25 million pages on a stack of the films that is roughly the size and shape of a DVD.
  • It wouldn't require a computer to read it.
  • The plan is to carry the library on a lunar lander being developed by startup Astrobotic — which CEO John Thornton described last week as offering "DHL delivery service" to the moon.
  • Target launch date: 2020.
  • It would be located permanently at the lander site on the northeast part of the Moon.
  • Eventually, they hope to add to it and seed information throughout the solar system. (The foundation sent a copy of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy stored on quartz crystals in Elon Musk's spacefaring Roadster.)

Deep questions: Spivack says scientists, artists, historians, anthropologists and others debated what information — the good, the bad and the potentially nefarious — to include in the library. They want it to be representative of different perspectives —"Wikipedia does this in a way," he says.

He'd also like to send DNA from humans and other species eventually, if the technology to store it in space can be developed.

 Our goal is to include everything we've achieved and know.
— Nova Spivack

Parting thought: "Many great civilizations have been lost. It is hubris to think it couldn't happen to us," Spivack says.

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Sports

MLB enters first lockout since '95 as deal expires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (L) and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. Photo: Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday without a new deal in place.

Why it matters: With no CBA, the MLB is in a management lockout — the first work stoppage since a 1994-95 strike led to the cancelation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

Media giants back Bannon's bid to release Jan. 6 documents

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon at the FBI Washington Field Office in Washington, DC., in November. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A coalition of news outlets including the Washington Post is supporting Stephen Bannon's campaign for the release of documents related to his contempt of Congress charges, WashPost confirmed Wednesday.

Why it matters: WashPost, the New York Times, CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal's parent company and others filed a motion arguing that a proposed protective order seeking to prevent the documents from being released violates the First Amendment, per the Daily Mail, which first reported on the news.

Symone Sanders leaving VP's office

Vice President Kamala Harris and her press secretary Symone Sanders. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris, is leaving the VP’s office by the end of this year, three White House officials told Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The VP has faced an onslaught of criticism in her first year centered on her leadership and staff, adding to the suggestion, she’s not the Democratic Party’s preferred nominee for 2024.

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